Tuesday, November 27, 2012

The True Life of the Walking Dead

On this last Sunday, I sat down to enjoy a lovely night of tv and fat with one of my housemates, Ryan.  We usually watch the Simpson's, Family Guy, and then The Walking Dead.  We time it pretty perfectly with Family Guy, that when it is finished we can start W.D. on the DVR and never watch one commercial.  After months of watching Walking Dead, I've finally realized what the show is really about.

You might think that it is about a zombie apocalypse, but it's not.  You might think that its about the struggles of one man and his mind and the shit he has been dealt, but it's not.  In reality, the show is about the natural survival skills innate in all of us.  At a deeper root, there is something else.  Something scarier.  Something primal and darker.  I will get to that in a moment.

While watching the latest episode, Ryan and I were discussing how the life in Woodbury is no different that the life we live now in the present day.  You see, Rick and the others are staying in the prison.  They have found a way to learn how to survive.  They know how to scavenge and hunt.  They understand the dark sides of nature and have learned how to adapt to the world that is now in front of them.  Everyone of them can hunt.  They can use a weapon if needed.  They can defend themselves.  The residents of Woodbury live their lives in comfort.  They have decided that they would rather relinquish their natural rights for the comfort of security.  Only a select few know how to use a weapon.  Only a select few do the dirty work.  The killing.  The protecting.  The hunting.  All the others in the town live life as if there is nothing any different about the world.   All they know is what the "Governor" tells them.  They believe it because knowledge is what they decided to concede upon gaining security.  They know the world is dangerous, but they have no knowledge of how to survive.  This is what the show is about.  It is about what you would do in the event of such a world.  Would you rather live in computability and be able to do nothing or would you rather know how to survive?  Me, I would rather want to know how to survive.  As Ryan and I discussed this, I realized how much of our world is actually this world.  We have sacrificed everything for comfortability and convience.  We would rather have someone tell us that we are safe than actually go out and secure it ourselves.  We believe that someone else is taking care of the monsters out there, but would never once think of doing it ourselves.  Nor would many of us take the risk of finding out just how bad it truly is.  Maybe it's not all that bad.

What is the scariest thing I've learned about watching this show is this:  when the shit hits the can, mankind will resort back to the primal, tribal actions that he started with.  Mankind will find a way to group itself into little pockets and then fight to the death over a small piece of land.  They won't work together to solve the problem of the "zombies."  They will fight over the resources and kill each other endlessly to make sure that they are secure, for them and their tribe only.  They won't venture out to find others and help them, because inside all of us somewhere is the super-asshole gene.  We have a society where we know each other to be assholes, but we don't know how much.  This causes each of us to distrust each other.  We know that there are many who have no understand of preparing and protecting.  All they know is raping and pillaging.  This is what the Walking Dead is showing us.  How much of a world of assholes are we that when the world is ending, we can't work together.  We can't all contribute and create peace.  Maybe that is the "socialist" ideal, but in the end, when the world is tribal again, it will be a world of small, small communities.  We live in cities where we have to talk about the small section of it we live it, not the grander location.  The Walking Dead is showing us that mankind a)can not survive if everyone is protected like a princess and b) we are more prone to kill each other for basic stupid survival even if there is a greater threat to all of us out there.

I love watching this show a lot, but sometimes I realize that there is a bigger message to things.  Then again, it could just be a tv show and I'm too analytical.  At least I got that going for me when the shit hits the fan.  Just don't come into my village.  No, seriously we can't afford to feed anymore of you fat asses that can't even out jog a super slow zombie.